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Children of the Sea, Vol. 3 Paperback – June 15, 2010
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About the Author
Daisuke Igarashi is an award-winning manga creator who began his career in 1993. His series Majo received the Excellence Prize at the 2004 Japan Media Arts Festival and was nominated for the Fauve d'Or Best Comic Book Prize at the 2007 Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême. Little Forest was nominated for the 2006 Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize. His current series Children of the Sea is the winner of the 38th Japan Cartoonist Award and runs in IKKI magazine.
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>After having read all of the books my verdict is: so worth it.
Love the series.
Ruka is in shock over the disappearance of Sora in the last volume and not doing well at all. Umi is also acting strangely and stays close to Ruka now. Anglade, introduced in the last volume, has a long talk with Jim about the sea children and then takes off with Ruka and Umi. Very strange things happen and this volume gets a little confusing with where the story is going. On the other hand, a fair portion of this volume takes place in the past starting with Anglade as a boy, his relationship with Jim, and how the sea children came to be with them. This clears up a lot of the background story and continues to make the story fascinating. A wonderful new character is introduced in the past, an old woman named Dehdeh, whom I hope will turn up again as she seems to know much more than she has told. The original disappearing fish story seems to have a much greater meaning now and Ruka has joined Sora and Umi in having a deep, cosmic relationship with the sea. As I said, the story arc is heading in a direction that is somewhat confusing at this point and I don't want to say anything else to give away any spoilers. Overall, this volume is not as good as the first two but seems to be a pivotal point in the story where the next volume is going to pull some more threads together. I love this series; the theme and plot are so different from any other manga I've read and the artwork is beautifully detailed with people of various ethnic groups represented. Vol. 4 will be released in Dec. of this year ('10).
Re-Read Aug/2013: My original review pretty much says it all about this volume. Only I've been able to follow the story better this time around and have managed to see where the plot is going with the Ruka angle, which has been hinted at from the beginning. Fascinating story, one more volume left to re-read! and I agree with my original rating of 4/5.
This was an interesting volume, to say the least, full of bizarre but beautiful imagery. Ruka gets lost at sea (though not in the way you're thinking) at one point, and this sequence is especially evocative. I also loved the scene where Ruka, directed by Sora's voice, and Umi jump ship and go swimming with a pod of false killer whales. As I mentioned, some of the imagery near the end is pretty bizarre, but it's beautiful in its strangeness. It's a little disturbing in places, but that's intentional.
The story is getting pretty esoteric. The beginning was pretty normal, and Ruka's lost at sea sequence, though a bit oddly presented, fit the magical realism of previous volumes. Ruka's vacancy at the beginning is well presented, as is Umi's disconnectedness from this world. It was good to learn more about how Jim and Anglade and Sora and Umi came together. Another character, Dehdeh, an acquaintance of Jim's, is important in this volume. She was an interesting character, but her philosophical waxings are a little overbearing. The real strangeness starts with one of Anglade's past experiences, and Ruka soon has a similar one. These experiences relate to creation myths of certain cultures, myths that are kind of hard to wrap your head around. I'm not sure how I feel about this literalization of these myths. The stories are not the simple "God created the world" kind of myths, and it's hard to imagine them being factual. Of course, "Children of the Sea" is kind of a mythological story itself. At this point, I'm not sure whether some events are literal or spiritual experiences. Even so, I felt the strangeness of this volume detracted from the relative realism of the first two. It's still interesting, though, and I'm not sure where the story's will go from here.
"Children of the Sea" vol. 3 is just as beautiful and atmospheric as the previous two. The story continues to be compelling, though I felt the strangeness near the end didn't fit with the rest. I'm not sure I like the direction the story's taking. Still, I enjoyed this volume for the most part. It's definitely worth buying if you've been following the series.
Igarashi has created a compelling fantasy world where nobody really questions why these two kids (raised by manatees) can live underwater, but where deeper mysteries are unfolding at an extremely deliberate pace. Most of this comic is about atmosphere and characterization, and the atmosphere, in particular, is stunning. Igarashi works in a visual style that's a lot different from most manga artists, with a scratchy, uneven line. It took me a little while to warm up to this, but once I did, I was hooked. In particular, the underwater sequences are truly impressive, with a virtuoso use of greyscale to simulate the look of being far underwater (in black & white, no less). He's also extremely effective in several scenes that take place on land during a typhoon.
In short, if you're looking for something a little off-the-beaten-track, I recommend this without reservations. I believe it is available online from Viz Media, so you can check it out first before deciding whether or not you want to buy it.